It was a Thursday evening. I had just gotten off a plane, exhausted and hungry. My husband offered to take me out to dinner and I was more than willing to let him pick the restaurant so that I could go home and crash.
Sitting in the booth telling my husband about the trip to visit my mother, I couldn’t help but notice the family sitting next to us. I tried not to stare, but I’ll admit that it was hard.
From afar it appeared to be Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad with two kids, and an adult brother of the Dad. Maybe a family reunion with Grandma and Grandpa coming to visit.
But let me get to the point. We sat there for over an hour watching the daughter play games on her phone. Even though she was sitting beside grandma, there was no interaction. Zero.
Sure enough, after they had ordered, Mom got out her phone and started texting. I thought for sure she would put it down. Nada–at least until the food came out. Poor grandma sat there in silence as the men carried on a conversation at one end of the table in their own world.
Even as they ate, the daughter sat her phone on the table and continued to play games. Mom never said, “Honey, would you please put your phone away so you can eat?” There was no communication with this girl–only silent approval that this was acceptable behavior.
I’ll admit I wanted to get up and shake this mother and tell the pre-teen to put her phone away. But I did choose to be civil. After all, we were in a restaurant and this woman didn’t ask for my help.
As dinner was winding down, I happened to glance at the grandmother. She knew what I was thinking. And she turned her palms up, shrugged, and glanced at me as if to say, “There’s really nothing I can do.”
“Really?” I thought.
As moms, we may be way more engaging than this mother in setting boundaries for our kids and helping them learn the social skills that they will need to survive in the future, but I wonder how many times we’ve allowed something or someone else crowd out the deep connection we could be having with our teen.
- When our kids ask us for something, are we “too busy” in the moment and fail to circle back to help them at a better time?
- Do we set specific times on a regular basis to have special one-on-one time to do things that we both enjoy? And then do it?
- Do you have “talk” time or are you always rushing to the next activity with a list of “Did you do your_____ (homework or chores)?”
- Do you encourage interaction with other adults, especially with Grandma and Grandpa, so that relationships develop and a sense of family becomes important?
- Are we willing to do hard things ourselves, like put away the phone or give up something else, so that we can model relationships for our kids?
- Are we willing to step into the situations that are not going as we would like and say, “Honey, I would like you to put away the phone right now so we can enjoy each other, grandma, or whoever else is in the room.”?
- Are we willing to have the tough conversations before and after a situation so that our kids will learn what relationship is all about?
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers/sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Dear Heavenly Father,
So many times I fail in my own actions and model behavior that will one day be passed to yet another generation. Lord, help me to not only think through my own convictions but to live them out for my children. Help me to be brave and walk into what might be conflict over things like phones, computers, gaming systems, friends, and other things so that I can teach my kids the art of true relationships.
Lord, I also pray that my relationship with you will become deeper and stronger as I choose to live my life for you. Help me to be a parent who engages with her children in a way that will bring you glory and honor.
In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Dare you to think about ways you can more deeply connect with your teen and teach them about true relationships.
“Let go…and Let God”,
Teaching teens the importance of relationship is so very difficult in a technology driven world. If you would like to connect more deeply with your teen, why not grab a copy of With All Due Respect and join us in our on-line eCourse? I’ll be joining you in a community of christian women who want to take their relationships with their kids to the next level. Hope to see you there!